Yellowstone River Report 9/18/2017
Flows spiked with the rain last week and added some color. The water temperature has dropped significantly too.
Fish may be slow to move and lethargic early in the day. Try rubber leg/girdle bug patterns or dead drifting buggers first thing. While there may be an occasional eat on the hopper first thing, the bite likely won’t turn on until early afternoon if it warms up and there’s a light breeze or wind.
On overcast and/or rainy days, streamer fishing should be a good option. A hopper/dropper set up works well early, and usually throughout the day. For a dropper nymph, anything with a beadhead, like the Beadhead Prince, Hare’s Ear and Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail on a long leash have all been consistent winners. A dropper about a sleeve’s length is recommended. Rubber leg Princes, the Batman and other rubber leg patterns work well in the morning too. Hopper/large dry patterns like Chubby Chernobyls, Jack Cabe, PMXs, Yeti Hoppers, Fat Franks, Water Walkers and Yellowstoner Chubbys in size 10 to 12 in a variety of colors have all been taking fish at one time or another.
In the afternoon if there’s no action on the hopper or it’s too windy to cast with a dropper, just go with the single hopper pattern or nymph. Try giving the hopper a twitch every now and then, particularly when drifting calmer water. Also try a double dry set up with a smaller hopper or other terrestrial like an ant or beetle, or a smaller dry fly trailed a foot or so off of a bigger hopper. The very heads of riffles and shallow water along gravel bars have been producing some nice fish.
If getting out early, try throwing streamers like the Grinch or a black or olive bugger. Trail a nymph a foot or so off the back too. There have been some sporadic Tricos as well as Mahoganys and pale mayflies. For pods of raising fish, a small size dry like a Purple Haze or Parachute Adams with a pheasant tail trailer fly may get the job done. Also try searching likely water with a #10-12 dry fly pattern.
The river may take a few days to regain clarity, but is still in good shape and we expect fishing conditions to remain good as we move into late summer/early fall.